Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said Thursday that “we have only just begun walking north,” referring to Pakistan’s “atrocities” on the people of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. “Our journey will be complete when we implement the resolution passed unanimously by the Indian Parliament on February 22, 1994 by reaching the remaining parts (of PoK), Gilgit and Baltistan.”
Speaking at the Shaurya Diwas celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of Indian Army troops landing at Budgam airfield to protect J&K from Pakistani raiders, Singh said that some areas illegally occupied by Pakistan remain devoid of progress and rights.
He called the people of PoK “innocent Indians,” and said Pakistan is “fully responsible” for the “atrocities” that have occurred there.
“In the future, Pakistan will bear the brunt… We understand their (PoK people’s) anguish. The states of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are growing and reaching new heights. This is only the start.”
He stated that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s dream of national unity will be realised when “the 1947 refugees get justice and their ancestors’ land is returned to them.”
He stated that Syama Prasad Mookerjee’s goal of full integration was achieved on August 5, 2019, “when Article 370 was abolished under Prime Minister Modi’s leadership.”
“Despite being an integral part of India,” he claimed, the state of Jammu and Kashmir has been denied development and peace for decades. “J&K was granted so-called’special status,’ but far from being special, it was denied even basic rights,” he said.
“Previously, some anti-India elements used to disrupt peace and harmony in the name of religion, but now there is peace and tranquillity in J&K due to the government’s and the armed forces’ persistent efforts,” he said.
He claimed that in the name of “Kashmiriyat,” J&K witnessed the “tandav” of terrorism. “As a result of this, numerous lives have been lost and numerous homes have been destroyed.” “There is no way to calculate how much blood has been shed in the name of religion,” he said.
Many people attempted to link terrorism to religion, but “were the victims of terrorism limited to one religion?” he asked.
In a dig at the country’s “so-called intellectuals,” Singh asked, “Where does concern for human rights disappear when security forces or civilians are attacked?”
He described the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley as “tragic,” adding that when intellectuals in a society remain silent in the face of injustice, “that society’s downfall does not take long.”
In his speech, the Defence Minister paid glowing tribute to the “heroes of the armed forces and the people of J&K” who gave their lives to preserve the country’s unity and integrity. He stated that it is because of their bravery and sacrifice that J&K has remained and will remain an integral part of India.